Dubai: Five traditional UAE sports will be celebrated as part of the Emirati Endurance Pentathlon 2011, which was launched this week.
As part of the country's 40th birthday celebrations, athletes will compete in an Emirati wooden boat race, pearl diving, palm tree climbing, archery and horse racing next Friday, November 25.
The event has been organised by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the Public Parks and Horticulture Department of Dubai Municipality and Dubai First, one of the leading consumer finance firms in the UAE.
Dubai First conceived the heritage event as a tribute to the UAE's founding fathers. Based entirely on Emirati culture and heritage, the five-stage endurance event will depict the typical lifestyle of Emiratis across the seven emirates reminiscent of the pre-oil era.
This first-of-its-kind pentathlon will invite the participation of seven teams of five members each to promote a healthy sporting spirit to commemorate the 40th National Day of the UAE.
A family day will start at 11am on November 25, followed by the pentathlon from 2pm, where Emirati hospitality will be extended to the UAE's expatriate community, who are invited to participate at the pentathlon and family day activities.
The contestants will be dressed as typical early Emirati pearl divers and, once they are given the ‘go' signal, each team will board their traditional wooden boats and will race over a distance of 600 metres.
The contestants will then stop at the designated checkpoint on the water, where a member of each team will dive down to a depth of around six metres to fetch an item placed there in advance — thus simulating the pearl dive — before rejoining their team for the paddle back to shore.
The next stage will be the palm tree climbing, where a member of each team will race up a tree to fetch another item and rush back down.
The contestants will then head onto the archery stage, where they will shoot at targets and will be judged based on modified rules of FITA archery requirements.
The competition will conclude with a horse race of 250 metres.
Ebrahim Al Ansari, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai First, said: "It gives us immense pride to unveil this new concept for a sporting event.
"In our drive towards enforcing our corporate social responsibility initiatives, we sought to promote a healthy lifestyle through an event where we blend our rich heritage with sports and athletics.
The Dubai First Emirati Endurance Pentathlon is envisaged to become an annual event, and will certainly grow beyond this inaugural edition."
Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, Secretary General of DSC, confirmed that the Emirati Endurance Pentathlon is part of the council's strategy to support all types of sports competitions and events with promising development that enhance the status of Dubai.
"The Dubai Sports Council will be organising and supporting various upcoming events in celebration of the UAE National Day, but affirms that what makes this event special are the traditional sports that we all hold great respect and admiration for," Dr Sharif said.